How An Online Casino Builds A Solid Reputation
Let’s face it nobody likes a cheat. Nowadays, customers want a fair deal. They need to believe that a casino (cyber or otherwise) is trusthworthy and reputable or they’ll take their business elsewhere.
If an online casino wants to attract customers to its site, it must convince them that it’s a friendly and more importantly an honest place to gamble. The latest survey points out that customers’ number one concern is honesty followed by a fair chance to win. Internet commerce is still a radically new concept where most customers are still trying to come to terms with technological changes and the manner in which goods and services are sold.
Before, internet gamblers were used to going to the casino, they were greeted by real people, interacted with the dealer at the roulette table and plunked down real money. This presence and tangibility created an atmosphere of trust, comfort and a chance to gauge the aspects of the casino most integral to attracting customers: honesty, excitement, entertainment and friendliness. Today everything is virtual…the dealers, the blackjack table, the wheel and even the entire casino.
It’s up to the cyber casino to create virtual excitement and enjoyability. The crux of the matter is honesty, it must be sincere and above all it must be real. Before an operator can instill this it must be effective and allay their fear and hesitations otherwise no customers. If one casino website fails to inspire consumer trust, you can bet your bottom dollar another one will. The cyber-industry is growing by leaps and bounds, e-gaming entrepreneurs are creating a ‘real-world’ gaming experience that’s built on the pillars of trust.
To Build A Solid Reputation Operators Must Adhere To The Following Principles:
1. Government Regulation:When an operator applies for a license in the country it wishes to operate from, it’s not only applying for the license but it’s also buying the reputation of the country’s government. In essence it must operate within the highest standard of performance and morality. When gamblers are duped, scams and scandals always enjoy front page news.
This is why players look to governments to protect their interests by weeding-out all the bad apples, so to speak. This can only be accomplished by regulation and enforcement. Does the public see the operator as one who operates within the ambit of the government’s laws or is the operator run by gun-toting gangsters based in Costa Rica?
Let’s have a look at it from this angle. As a player, would you want the government to protect you against unscrupulous individuals or would you feel better if the operator is run from a progressive, industrialized nation like the U.S, Great Britain or Togo? I bet you it would be difficult finding the latter country on a world map. No offense to our Tongonese visitors. Internet gamblers feel the same, hope you can see what I’m trying to get at here. Potential operators must take into account the country and its government by policing its licensed internet gambling operations and guarantee honesty.
Governments that are proactive and vigilant demand social responsibility from their licensees. In other words it must take into account controls on underage gambling, player protection and other forms of compliance. Players who gamble online are aware of the latest gaming news, trends, regulation and they know which casinos are reputable.
2. Internet Gaming Industry Oversight: This is the second form of gaining a reputation and akin to a card-carrying member of the Better Business Bureau. Most industries have a group of role players where they promote certain standards and ethical business policies. The aim here is to better serve their customers by boosting the industry’s reputation.
What does the aforementioned entail? It entails three fundamental aspects and I’d like to discuss it. Organizations in each of the three categories’ sole aim is to rid the industry of unlicensed internet casinos and fly-by-night grifters who have tarnished the industry’s reputation by stealing from players. They are:
- Consumer watchdog sites: I regard the following portal casinos watchdog sites: Casinomeister.com and AskGamblers. If an operator refuses to pay the player, the player can lodge a complaint and state the reason as to why the operator refuses to pay him or her. The Interactive Gaming Commission (IGC) promotes honest, fairness and accountability throughout the industry. It’s important that one does not confuse it with the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC). What’s the purpose of the Commission? It takes a hard stance against unlicensed operators and grifter-type operations by looking at the following:
- License and Accreditation: This is a type of ”shame list” which singles out operators that acted in an unethical manner. The Commission only accredits licensed casinos by favouring consumer interests over casino convenience. Sally Anderson, a Commission spokesperson had the following to say:”Once we determine that the casino is licensed and our auditors have obtained the information noted in our database, we award the operator the Internet Gaming Commission logo”. If the operator violates the Commission’s code of conduct the logo will be removed. If the casino is in good standing with the Commission it can use the ‘Accredited’ logo on its website as a form of public relations. The Commission promotes dispute resolution between casinos and customers. Players can pay a membership fee of $10 and they can share their experience about the operator be it positive or negative. The Commission prides itself in the fact that it does not accept any form of advertising fees and touts itself completely independent for industry influence. Its website provides some handy tips on gambling, and a directory which helps players find a reputable casino.
- Vested interest in the casino industry: The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) represents the gaming industry. To a certain extend it brings to the table a sense of uniformity by adhering to the highest of operational standards. The cost for membership is a one-time application fee of $500. The IGC also promotes industry networking and communication between its members and offers dispute resolution btween customers and online casinos. However, it’s debatable how much weight it carries in policing the industry. What I can say is that the IGC name and presence of the logo on a member website inspires consumer confidence.
3. Transparent Software: To enhance its reputation and inspire player confidence, an operator’s software must be audited by an accounting firm that’s internationally recognised. The accounting firm must periodically review the casino’s software, certify its payout percentage and test its Random Number Generator (RNG).
Overall the operator must receive a clean bill of health in terms of fair and honest behaviour. To enhance its reputaion, the casino can add the accounting firm’s logo to its website. The five biggest account firms that feature on reputable internet casinos are: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernest&Young, KPMG, Deloitte&Touche and Arthur Andersen.
In a real-world casino the player can see the dealer shuffling the cards. Unfortunately the same could not be said for a cyber casino. This is why it’s important that the site operates pursuant to standard of random chance according to the definition of gambling. Players are very concerned about fraudulent software where the games are rigged.
4. Self-Regulation: The Home Page of an online casino is a good indication as to what’s going on behind the scenes. It can help instill player confidence, honesty and player satisfaction. Most gambling websites include a Directory of Links on their Home Pages with topic headings that address visitor concerns. Many cyber casinos feature links on the following topics: ‘Fair Gaming’, ‘Security’, Reliable Payouts, ’24-Hour Support’, ‘Contact Us’ and so forth. When the visitor clicks on any of the topics, it pulls up brief but pertinent information. Strictly speaking credibility equals profitability.
Every single online casino needs a middleman that can successfully handle all monetary transactions without any hiccups. Someone that can guarantee the player and the providers that the exchange of payments will be handled in a professional manner. If someone purchases a CD and pays for it by credit card, the cost is debited from teh person’s credit account.
As it is credit card companies don’t like being tied down by millions of merchant businessman (sellers/service providers). Long story short, they want someone who can do the dirty work for them. And this someone is the ‘Merchant Account Company’.
How Does A Merchant Account Work?
An egambling site is a seller/service provider as well as a business merchant. Most players pay for its services via credit cards. The casino needs to verify that the customer’s credit card is legitimate and that the credit card company will be responsible for the debt incurred. Keep in mind that credit cards companies don’t deal with the casinos directly.
The merchant account company is the intermediary that gets the information from the casino by checking the world-wide database of credit information. In return it confirms the credit card company’s approval, its promise to pay the casino for the debts incurred by the player. What exactly is a merchant account? It’s the relationship between a middleman merchant company and a business that sells the product or service. The former is hired by the latter to perform the verification.
Why Does An Internet Casino Need A Merchant?
Most players use credit cards to purchase goods and services online. If a merchant account middleman declines credit cards as a payment method, it won’ remain in business very long. The primary payment method on the Web are credit cards. Unlike other forms of payments it offers instant verification-a major advantage over other payment methods.
What Are Charge-Backs?
At the end of each month the credit card company sends the player a statement of all the transactions made. If the player is not happy with a transaction, he may query the charge. In return the credit card company instructs the merchant account company to negate the transaction and return the player’s funds. This is known as a ”Charge-Back’‘ of funds from the merchant to the player. At the same token merchants are kept honest and customer are protected.
Online gambling is risky business to any merchant account company. Reason being if the online casino closes down shop the merchant account company is responsible for reimburing the players. Due to the nature of some scurrilous businessman the industry has been labeled as ”high risk”. Luckily there are merchants that specifically deal with ”high risk” ventures.
What Are The Characteristics Of A Reputable Operator?
- It must adhere to financial privacy laws and offer real-time transactions.
- Clear defined banking policies that make long-distance transactions easier.
- Proper telecommunication needs, affordable government licensing fee/s and associated costs.
- Employ a multi-lingual work force that’s well educated and professional. Players must be able to contact support through email, live chat, telephone or mail.
- Establish a sound and ethical working relationship with the Minister of Trade and Industry.
- The software must be state-of-the-art. Its games must have an interactive feel to it and it must offer realistice game play. An accounting firm must audit the software regularly this fosters a fair and safe gaming environment.
- The operator must try and negotiate a regressive percentage with the software provider. It simply means as profits increase, the vendor gets less of a percentage in return. As such the operator can offer its customers exclusive deals.
- The operator must join the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) and other industry professionals. The IGC logo, once apporved must feature in a prominent position on the cyber casino’s website.
The process of starting up a new online casino is an arduous and time-consuming process. In short it’s no cake-walk. The Internet is a akin to that of a raging sea of capitalism and makes all men equal in a free market. It has created a new breed of entrepreneurial millionaire. Wealth is not a prerequesite for success on the Web. Some may call gambling a vice. But let’s face it: To gamble…to risk one smaller’s assets for the chance to win greater wealth is human nature.
The power of the Internet not only altered the dominant world economic system known as Capitalism, in effect it created a parallel cyber-world where far-flung worlds often collide. In the physical world Las Vegas is often the centre for gambling; cyber gambling is the next frontier, often hailed as a border town to No-Man’s Land. The price of land in this virtual territory is cheap and its norms and ethics are still in its formative stages. The vastness of the cyber gaming world is now being mapped, explored and charted by cyber pioneers.[addtoany]